Gallery to get earth­quake strength­en­ing

The Southland Times - - NEWS - RACHAEL KELLY

The Eastern South­land Gallery is un­likely to suf­fer the same fate as the South­land Mu­seum and Art Gallery in In­ver­cargill - with the build­ing due to un­dergo struc­tural strength­en­ing to en­sure it meets earth­quake stan­dards.

An ini­tial seis­mic as­sess­ment from a struc­tural en­gi­neer showed that there was no sig­nif­i­cant risk in oc­cu­py­ing the build­ing, and the John Money Wing ex­ten­sion is not con­sid­ered to be earth­quake prone.

Work will in­clude join­ing the west wall more se­curely into the ex­ist­ing work struc­ture and brac­ing the para­pet and cor­nice back to the roof struc­ture.

Work on the build­ing, which was built in 1909, is ex­pected to start in July and will cost $800,000, which the Gore District Coun­cil will fund by way of a loan.

Gallery cu­ra­tor Jim Ged­des said some ex­te­rior walls will be braced with flash­ings and some ma­sonry will be re­in­forced, but the build­ing was in ‘‘pretty good nick for its age.’’

‘‘There’s been no risk to any­one be­ing here,’’ Ged­des said.

‘‘This will be the first time the Gore District Coun­cil has spent any money on this build­ing in 109 years.

‘‘It’s been so well built it’s re­mained in very good con­di­tion.’’

The gallery houses the in­ter- na­tion­ally renowned John Money col­lec­tion, a col­lec­tion of Ralph Hotere works and hosts ex­hi­bi­tions.

Ged­des said the gallery at­tracts about 20,000 vis­i­tors a year and rates highly in the Gore District Coun­cil’s res­i­dents opin­ion sur­veys.

The build­ing opened as one of 18 free li­braries around New Zealand funded by Scot­tish-born Amer­i­can busi­ness­man and phi­lan­thropist, An­drew Carnegie.

It was de­signed by ER Wil­son of In­ver­cargill, built for £2000 and came in un­der bud­get.

A main­te­nance fund for the build­ing was es­tab­lished by sell­ing land to the Depart­ment of Courts.

That land is where a new Gore District Li­brary was es­tab­lished in 1983.

Eastern South­land Gallery In­cor­po­rated moved into the build­ing in 1984 and, be­tween 2001 and 2003, $1.3 mil­lion was raised to re­de­velop it.

The gallery may close for two weeks while the work took place, which would give the chance to ‘‘tidy up’’ the en­trance way foyer, hang new sig­nage and in­stall new light­ing.

‘‘The works we dis­play are na­tional trea­sures and we need to have a much bet­ter light­ing sys­tem than we have here now.’’

The South­land Mu­seum and Art Gallery in In­ver­cargill closed in­def­i­nitely last week be­cause of earth­quake risk.

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